The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Illinois (Propeller), sunk, 24 Oct 1855

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ILLINOIS Propeller, struck rock near Bar Point, and sank near Malden C. W. Cargo merchandise, cargo $75,000. Vessel and expense $10,000
      Buffalo Morning Express
      Jan. 11, 1856 (Casualty List)

PROPELLER ILLINOIS SUNK. -- The propeller ILLINOIS, from Buffalo for ports on Lake Michigan, sunk on Wednesday night in Detroit River, in 18 feet of water. She had 600 tons of merchandise on board.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Friday, October 26, 1855

THE PROPELLER ILLINOIS. -- Captains of vessels arriving yesterday inform us that this propeller, sunk near Malden, is nearly covered with water, her stern is entirely submerged, and her stem out but about eighteen inches. She was loaded with wheat. -- Detroit Free Press, 27th.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Monday, October 29, 1855

PROPELLER ILLINOIS. -- The Detroit Democrat of the 2d says: - "The propeller ILLINOIS has been raised and came up to this port today. About one-third of her cargo is uninjured, and a great portion of the balance is almost totally ruined. The extent of the vessel's damage is not yet known. She will go into dry dock here for repairs.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Monday, November 5, 1855

      . . . . .
      From a hasty glance at the records of marine disasters we find the difficulties have their
origins somewhere about 1854. The schooner BUTLER, deep laden, struck an unknown obstruction and sunk, but was subsequently raised. The cause was supposed to be that of some sunken wreck. The accident took place in May. In the month of October, 1855, the propeller ILLINOIS, commanded by Capt. Wm. Dickson, of long experience on the lakes, having a full load of merchandise, struck and sunk. The entire cargo was damaged, and the loss to
the steamer and cargo amounted to $85,000. The propeller CUYAHOGA, with a cargo of wheat, in October, 1856, run on the same spot, worked herself off, and was run ashore, the damages amounting to $3,000, the damage to cargo and vessel slight. In July, 1857, the schooner ALICE was stranded near there, and became a total loss. The schooner DREADNAUGHT, with a cargo of grain, struck in 1858, and sustained damages amounting to $100. In 1859 the bark LONDON run on the same place,, damages $150. The bark INDIANA, in November of the same year, dragged her anchor and grounded in the same spot, but was lightered off damaged $200. The scow E. S. TAYLOR, laden with coal, was sunk near there in 1860 and became a total loss. In April, 1861, the schooner WYANDOTTE, laden with coal, met with a disaster at the same place, the damage amounting to $300. The propeller DETROIT struck there in 1862, and sprung a leak, damages $100. In May, 1863, the steamer MORNING STAR struck on what was supposed to be an anchor, but the real cause was doubtless one of the wrecks above alluded to. The sloop MESSINGER, with a cargo of wheat, grounded there and damaged her cargo $3,000. The propeller MARQUETTE, cargo of merchandise, sank there in 1865, but subsequently got up; cargo badly damaged. In September of the same year the propeller PITTSBURGH struck and went ashore, and lightered off. Soon after the propeller WENONA grounded and was lightered off, and the steamer CANADA, of 166 tons, sunk and became a total loss there in September of 1865. In November, 1871, the propeller POTOMAC stove a hole in her bottom on the same obstruction and returned to Detroit, damages not stated. Soon after the propeller CHINA sustained a like disaster. The disasters of 1872 from
the same cause were as follows: In May, the propeller MERCHANT, cargo merchandise, sunk, raised, and taken to Detroit. In August, bark C. K. NIMS, cargo grain, struck and sprung a leak. Bark RED, WHITE and BLACK (sic), stove hole in bottom, damaged cargo and brought to Detroit. In November schooner OWASCO, cargo corn, all damaged and vessel ashore but got off. Propeller BURLINGTON sunk and got up. Propeller PHILADELPHIA stranded but got off.
Schooner SAM FLINT, cargo grain, stranded and got off. In December, propeller RUSSIA, cargo grain, struck and sunk, raised and brought to Detroit.
      Detroit Free Press
      July 11, 1873
Other vessels lost or heavily damaged on or near Bar Pt. during the same period included: Schr GUERRIERE (1832), strs ERIE and DANIEL WEBSTER ('39), str LITTLE WESTERN ('42), schr C. C. TROWBRIDGE ('57), schr MORNING LIGHT ('60), prop CLEVELAND ('66) and schr W. S. LYONS ('69).


Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: sunk
Lives: nil
Hull damage: $10,000
Cargo: $75,000
Freight: merchandise
Remarks: Raised
Date of Original:
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 42.08339 Longitude: -83.04985
William R. McNeil
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Illinois (Propeller), sunk, 24 Oct 1855